A request by Atlanta Motorsports Park owner Jeremy Porter is nearing its sixth month in the hands of the Dawsonville city council as a final hearing on the variance issue took place Monday night.
Before the hearing, sound engineer Tom Trask presented findings from a sound study that he performed over the course of three days to determine if sound levels coming from the park are being reported accurately.
The study placed sound monitors at four residences near the motorsports park, which is located on Duck Thurmond Road. The study did not monitor sound levels at the park itself.
Trask said that after looking at all the data, he found that the city's imposed 60 dBa (a-weighted decibel) limit, on average for a 16 hour period, was not being exceeded by the motorsports park.
60 dBa is described as being the sound of heavy traffic being heard from 300 feet away, a dishwasher being heard in the next room, or a normal conversation being heard from three feet away.
Trask also said that there is no barrier that could stop the noise from reaching residences.
Speaking on behalf of the motorsports park was Dahlonega attorney George Butler, who presented an updated application that removed Porter's request for unlimited noise on 15 days per calendar year.
Due to the change, the park's 4th of July event is now the only event that AMP is asking for sound limits to be waived.
Also new to the application, Porter is asking for a PA system that will not exceed 80 dBa at 50 feet from the edge of the track, as opposed to the 98 dBa limit recommended by the planning commission and city staff.
The application still asks for an extension of operating hours expressly for the operation of "low-sound" go-karts. Normal hours of operation are currently 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Nov. 1 to March 31, and from 7 a.m. (or one hour after sunrise, whichever is earlier) to 8 p.m. (or one hour after sunset, whichever is earlier) from April 1 to Oct. 31.
Porter is asking for extended hours between March 15 and November 15, or the end of daylight savings time, whichever is earlier. The hours would be extended to 9:30 p.m.on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 p.m. on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and 9 p.m. on Sundays.
The original request asked for hours for go-kart operation be extended to 11 p.m. on weekends.
The application also asks for the ability for garage condos and micro-cabins to be built on the property, and that lights accompanying the low-sound go-kart track will be no more than 50 feet high and must be LED, non-glare, non-bleed with no more than 15-foot candle lights.
Despite the evidence that noise from the motorsports park has not been exceeding noise stipulations set by the city, and despite the reduction in the amount and severity of the requests, residents were still unhappy with the changes and the noise produced by the park in general.
West Hamryka, who lives on Duck Thurmond, said that when the park was originally proposed, it was labeled a private motorsports park, but that characterization is changing with the introduction of a PA system and other changes to stipulations.
Hamryka commended the council on having a sound study performed, but asked that a peak level of 63 dBa at the track be enforced as a compromise between the park and neighbors.
"The sound study you should be absolutely applauded for, that was a fantastic, it was the first time that we have been listened to," Hamryka said. "However, why wasn't the study done at the track? Why wasn't that checked? The original zoning was flawed, the study is flawed, and the only thing that wouldn't be flawed is to have a black and white, maximum level at the track so [Porter] can run his business and we can live there the rest of our lives."
The council is expected to vote on the application at the June 5 meeting.